Monday, March 31, 2014

Progress on the New Planning Act

A press release from Luke Foley, shadow planning minister, says:
Shadow Minister for Planning Luke Foley has called on Planning Minister Brad Hazzard to break 127 days of silence on his Planning Bill and address the widespread uncertainty plaguing the state’s planning system.
Mr Foley said it had been 18 weeks since the amended Planning Bill was returned to the Legislative Assembly, yet the Minister is paralysed with indecision, unable to advise the Parliament and people of NSW what he will do.
Mr Hazzard told parliament in November last year: “We will come back to the House in the New Year and determine the matter.” (Legislative Assembly, 21 November 2013)
“It’s been more than four months since Brad Hazzard made his commitment - however the Minister is yet to take any action in the Parliament that deals with his own Planning Bill,” Mr Foley said.
“Having promised at the 2011 election to return planning powers to local communities Brad Hazzard’s bill did the opposite – providing new avenues for fast track development without community input.  The Minister should honour his election promise – to return planning powers to local communities.”
The NSW Labor Opposition significantly amended the O’Farrell Government’s Planning Bill in the Legislative Council – dumping the worst excesses of the bill that removed planning powers from local communities.
Labor’s amendments focussed on three core areas:
a) Restoring the rights of local communities to have their say in the planning process;
b) Implementing a planning regime that properly balances economic activity, environmental protections and community participation; and
c) Including affordable housing provisions in the bill
“We have entered the fourth year of this Government, and Brad Hazzard has been unable to deliver the Coalition’s major election promise of a new planning act for New South Wales,” Mr Foley said.
“It’s Brad Hazzard who is standing in the way of a new planning act for the state. A new Planning Act can be passed into law.
“It should be possible to end the planning wars.  If Mr Hazzard is simply unable to deliver the planning reform he promised, the Premier should find a new Planning Minister.”

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